“So what you’re saying,” Bai said over the radio as we moved towards the direction where we thought Eric would be, “Is that if you kill enough of them, they won’t attack the main camp?”
“Pretty much,” I said. “We’ll also need some reinforcements.”
Gunfire echoed over the radio, announcing Eric’s entrance into the conversation. “Yes. Back-up would be very welcome.”
The radio crackled to life. “We’re on our way,” a cockney-accented voice said grimly. I started.
“Eliza?” I asked. “Did Bai send you?”
“I actually did not realize she was gone…” Bai noted dryly.
“Did you really think I’d bleedin’ sit about while… while there was a fight?” Eliza asked. “Where’s it at?”
“They are slowly forcing us to the inner bend.” Eric said, with no gunfire in the background. “It doesn’t seem like they have any idea what they are doing.”
Just as soon as he finished, I burst through a bush. I found myself in a clearing. About two hundred meters away, a group of six people were standing, all of them armed.
Instinctively, I dropped to my knee, raised my gun, and yelled, “Contact!” One of them heard me and turned around, but I had already fired. I had made sure to switch the G-3 to semi-auto so I didn’t waste ammo. It jumped a little with a sound halfway between a thud and a pop, and the sudden burst of heat was hot enough to hurt my hand.
The guy who had seen me turned around just in time to see one of his friends’ head snap back. The remaining five enemies raised their guns, but I had already shifted my focus to another. Two shots from the G-3 and he (or maybe she, I couldn’t tell at that range) stumbled back and fell.
I turned and aimed at another target. However, before I could get a good bead on him, the first of the enemies had begun to fire. I jumped a bit in shock, so my shot hit him in the shoulder, instead of his chest. He spun around and fell from the force of the bullet. In the meantime, bullets began kicking up around me. The snow around me began to kick up as rounds began to hit. I fired three more shots, taking down another guy before they finally managed to hit me.
The bullet slammed into my flack jacket, knocking the wind out of me and causing me to fall over. I thought about getting up, then realized they had stopped shooting. They thought I was dead. I decided not to disabuse them of that notion.
As they approached, I heard them start arguing and swearing in their native languages. The guy I had shot in the arm was screaming. Someone yelled at him, “It is not so serious. Stop being a baby!”
As they argued louder, I began to recognize their language as French. Finally, they began heading towards me. In the meantime, I wondered what Doc, Monk, and John were doing. The arguing group approached me while I wondered. There were only two left mobile. The injured guy had stopped screaming and started bitching.
His friends, however, kept getting closer. Since I was lying on my back, I couldn’t see them. If I sat up, there would be the chance of them shooting me. Needless to say, I really didn’t want to test my luck any more than I had already.
That being said, they were way too close to comfort. I was just about to sit up and see if I could pop them when gunfire erupted. First there was a simultaneous burst of FAL and AK fire. Then the wounded guy yelled “Merde! Merde merde merde!” Then a single FAL shot. Then silence.
I sat up. “Took you guys long enough.”
To my left, Doc’s incredulous voice came. “Killer?” He asked. “You’re alive?”
“Yeah,” I said, getting up stiffly. “I’m alive. Man, that hurt. Feels like Ulfric punched me in the sternum.” As I got up, I looked around. Doc and The Monk had flanked around slightly, entering through a part of the clearing that wasn’t overgrown. They were on opposite sides of me, guns still at the ready. In front of me were two corpses. I tried to ignore the growing pools of blood around them.
“I am as surprised as I am glad you are well,” The Monk commented, laconic as usual. “I thought you had to have been turned into mincemeat, due to all the gunfire.”
“Yeah,” I said, still trying to avert my eyes from the two corpses. “I got lucky. They only hit me once. My armor stopped the round and knocked me down.” I heard a rustling and whipped around and raised my gun. John, who had just come out of the bushes raised his hands.
“Whoah, whoah, whoah!” He said. “Easy, Nate!”
I lowered my gun. “Jeez, John,” I said, “you fucking scared me.”
John looked over my shoulder. “Is that your handiwork?”
I turned back to where the enemy group had been. “Three of them. Plus one non-fatal.”
“Damn, Killer!” Doc said.
The Monk, however, was continuing to move forwards to where the enemy group had been before I had started firing. “Yes,” he said. “I don’t think that one is dead. He is too lucky.”
Before I could comment on this, a cell phone rang, its tone that of a first-gen Star Trek communicator. In response the not-dead guy sat up and pulled out a pistol. The Monk and I opened fire. He ended up firing a single shot, but I swear to God he ended hitting himself in the leg. The phone was still ringing.
“Let’s make sure he’s dead this time.” The Monk said.
“Agreed.” I said. We then began to edge closer, Doc and John covering us. Eventually, the phone stopped ringing when we got to the guy. I bent down, ignoring the other bodies and checked his pulse. After I was satisfied he was dead, I began to search through his pockets.
“You are very good at this, Killer.” The Monk commented, just a little impressed. “Are you sure you’ve never done this before?”
“Shh… Thanks,” I said, somehow avoiding telling him to shut up as I rifled through his pockets. I avoided the ones that had bullet holes in them. The blood was already freezing, and getting my hands wet could be a death sentence. “Huh,” I said, trying to change the subject, “these guys don’t seem to have brought along any body armor.” I then pulled out a package of hot chocolate mix. “Or anything useful.”
“I cannot speak for the hot chocolate,” The Monk said, “but this armor slows you down and can imbue a false sense of invulnerability.”
“Or maybe they just watched too many movies where the minion’s body armor did nothing,” I said, pulling out a few clips of ammo and a lot of hot chocolate mix and tea bags. “I mean, I know enough to suspect that our side isn’t exactly on its A-game, but I’m pretty sure these guys are too stupid to know they suck.” Then my hand came in contact with something hard and plastic. “Found the phone!” I said.
I pulled it out. It was, as I figured, a smart phone. It wasn’t a brand I was familiar with, but it was open to a map of the surrounding area. On it was a dot labeled “You are here!” and a bunch of other dots were moving around. At the top of my screen, it said. “Find My Friends.” The guy with the phone must not have wanted to take his gloves off to operate the phone, so he had set it so it wouldn’t automatically lock.
“Well,” I said, “this is either a trap or these people are really stupid.”
The Monk cocked his head. After I explained it to him, he shrugged. “Either way, we’ll know where to look for Eric. If they are trying to surround him, they will all be heading towards a central point.”
“Shit, you’re right,” I said. “You’re a genius, man.”
After a quick conference and salvaging what we could and informing our radio contacts of what we had found, we were in hot pursuit of where we thought Eric’s team might be. It took a long time and I kept having to do all sorts of stuff to keep my fingers and toes from becoming too numb. I was beginning to understand why the AK idiot from earlier had been shooting his gun off so much. It had kept his hands warm.
Finally, we began to hear gunfire. “Eric!” Doc said into his walkie-talkie. “We’re hearing gunfire! We think it is you and your new friends.”
“Well, then hurry up!” Eric said. The gunfire that came over the radio matched up pretty well with what we were hearing in the distance.
We picked up the pace, moving closer to the sounds of fighting. We avoided going through any bushes, seeing what happened last time. Our opponents, on the other hand, had not learned that particular lesson. A group of ten came through some bushes right in front of us.We unloaded in response. Not a single one of them was able to get a shot off.
My G-3 (ok, my stolen G-3) ran dry pretty quickly. I instinctively remembered that I had put the stolen pistol in my left pocket, so I pointed my G-3 at the ground, reached my left hand into my pocket and pulled out the P229. I wasn’t sure how accurate I was, but since I was in a panic and firing with my offhand, it probably was terrible. However, I was intrigued at how quickly I had been able to do it. I was reasonably sure I had been able to do it faster than just reloading my G-3.
Once the firing had stopped, John asked, “Are we done here?” He reloaded what I was pretty sure was an M-4 as he spoke. Everyone else was reloading as well.
“Don’t know,” I said as I covered them with my pistol. “Hopefully.”
The radio crackled. “Hey guys,” Eric said frantically, “I just heard gunfire to the rear of my position. Please tell me that was one of you guys!”
“This is Monk,” Monk said. “We ran into the enemy. They are now dead. Also, I believe that if we keep heading straight, we should be at your position soon.”
“Oh good,” Eric said, sighing in relief. “We are surrounded on three sides.” After a pause, he said, “It would be nice if you could bring some ammo. We are running dangerously low, and may need to resort to our surprise.”
Doc chimed in. “If we take a bit of extra time, we can collect some.”
Eric paused. “Do it.” He finally said. “Unless you are already carrying a huge amount of ammo.”
“Ok,” Doc said, “You heard Eric! Finish reloading, then gather every bit of ammo you can!”
We did so, taking turns covering each other as we stuffed our backpacks packs full of ammunition, and even a few medical supplies. Thankfully, this group had decided to bring as much as possible. We were pretty loaded down, but we still ran pretty fast. After all, our friends needed us.
After about five minutes we saw a group of people on a small hill hiding behind some rapidly splintering trees and, oddly enough, snow barricades. “HEY!” I called out, with what little breath I had left, “ERIC! WE’RE HERE!”
Eric turned around and then yelled, “BEHIND YOU!”
We all turned around. There, coming right towards us, were about ten enemy troops carrying assault rifles and SMGs. They also heard Eric yell, so they raised their weapons.
The area we were in was built in a weird way. It was shaped in an oddly funnel-like manner on the side we were on. To the left and right was thick vegetation, with a path through to the center. This made it possible to take cover or at least find concealment. However, for me, it took a second to get to behind a suitably thick tree. Thanks to the bullets impacting into the snow all around me, though, the journey felt like it took hours.
I took a peek out from behind my tree for about half a second. John was on the other side of me and a few trees ahead. Beyond that, where the vegetation was less thick, was the flanking group. I only peeked out for a short time because a bunch of bullets hit tree and ground around it, causing splinters and bits of snow to fly around.
From behind, I heard Doc yell, “John! Are you all right?”
“Yeah!” John said.
“When I give the word,” Doc continued, “The rest of us are going to provide cover fire. When you hear a break in the enemy’s firing, you run like hell! Understand?”
“Hell yeah!” John said. “Then I wait until you give the signal, then cover the next guy, right?”
“Correct!” Suddenly, there was a break in the fire. Doc instantly yelled, “COVERING FIRE! NOW!”
I leaned out, brought up my G-3, and took aim. A couple of soldiers were already pretty close, so I triple-tapped one of them.
He fell back, his partner turned to see where the bullet had come from. Before either of us could fire, the snow behind him was kicked up by bullets and sprayed red with blood. I didn’t know if it was from Doc, John, or The Monk, and I didn’t really care. I just looked up from my scope to see if there were any other priority targets.
The second I did so, I saw John begin to run. Then there was a crack and he stumbled like someone had punched him in the small of the back. He continued running. I then noticed that someone was kneeling and pulling the bolt back on a rifle with a telescopic scope of some kind. “Sniper!” I yelled.
The sniper, possibly hearing me shout out “Sniper!” aimed and fired at me. He obviously hadn’t had much time to aim, because the bullet kind of skimmed the side of my Kevlar vest. I aimed, and fired. He fell, but I didn’t see sign of a hit, so I shot at him again. He rolled out of the way, causing me to miss all three times. For the rest of my clip, I made sure to keep an eye on where he was, but it was hard. Eventually, the bastard finally popped his head out again. He fired, I’m not sure at who. I fired twice. One shot hit, causing the asshole to jerk back. The other caused my gun to click. I watched through the scope to see the little prick go back into cover and to confirm that I had hit him. When he moved, I saw a lot of blood in the snow. Good. No one snipes my friends.
Over the radio, I heard John’s voice say, “Ok, guys, I’m up.”
“You’ll be happy to know I got the guy who sniped you,” I said while I reloaded, surprising myself how calm I sounded. “He’s still alive, but I don’t think he’s going to be shooting anyone for a while.”
“Oh.” John said, not sure what to do with this information. “Cool, I guess.” He paused, then added, “Thanks.”
Doc cut in via the radio. “Ok, Killer, you go next. Are you good to go?”
“I’m… I’m ready.” Yeah, considering how satisfied I was at making another human being bleed, I was pretty far away from being “good.”
“Ok,” Doc said, “Suppressing fire… NOW!” The three of us leaned out, Doc and The Monk to shoot anything that wasn’t on our team, me to get a good idea of when to run like hell. When I did, I felt like there were fewer people there than there should have been. I shrugged, took a few potshots, and ran like hell.
I was almost to the top of the hill when it happened. I was running so hard I was kind of leaning down which probably what saved my life. There was a crack, and something hit me in the head. Eric yelled “Sniper!” and began shooting at somewhere in the front of the crater.
I just kept running, despite the fact that a warm, sticky fluid was leaking into my eyes. It was so blinding that I didn’t realize the hill was actually a giant-ass crater. I only realized this by tripping over the rim and sliding down face-first.
John ran over to me and flipped me over. “Shit, dude, you fucking got shot again!”
Cross, who was busy engaging targets on the top of the rim, yelled down, “What the fuck do you mean, ‘again?’”
“Yeah, I kind of figured,” I said, taking my helmet off and shrugging off my backpack, searching for the bandages. “Can you help me bandage this up before it soaks my uniform and freezes?”
“Sure, man!” John said, moving to help search my pack. I had to stop to wipe the blood out of my eyes.
A voice crackled through my earbud. “Hey Killer,” Doc said, “What are the enemy doing?”
“Yes,” Eric said, “That is a good question.”
I whipped out the stolen phone to check. My face turned into one of utter horror. “Get in here NOW! I repeat, get the fuck in here!” I yelled. On the screen, all the “friends” were gathering a good distance away. All of them.